Luke 13: 31-34
You probably never thought of Jesus talking about chickens in the Bible, but in this week’s Scripture, He does just that. Some people came to Jesus and warned him that King Herod planned to kill Him and that He should leave and go somewhere else to be safe. Jesus was healing people and wanted to continue His work, so He stayed right there. Then Jesus said this in Luke 13:34, “Jerusalem, Jerusalem! You kill the prophets. You stone to death the people God has sent to you. How many times I wanted to help your people. I wanted to gather them together as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings. But you did not let me.”
I’m not sure how much you know about chickens – mother hens and chicks especially. I didn’t know a lot, so I looked it up. A mother hen will sit on her nest of eggs for three weeks, keeping the eggs warm until they hatch. She might leave the nest once or twice a day to eat, drink water, and bathroom. After the chicks hatch, the mother hen keeps her babies close, under her wings for another six weeks. She does that to keep the chicks warm until they have fluffed out and are protected from the cold. During that time, she teaches the chicks how to scratch for food and others things they need to learn to get along on their own. The mother hen also keeps her chicks close to her to protect them from animals such that might want to harm them. She gives a lot of herself to care for the chicks. We call that sacrifice.
Jesus uses this example of a mother hen to teach us about His love. Think about what a comforting thought this is – that Jesus cares for you and offers the warmth of His love – under His wings. As you stay close to Jesus and His teachings, you also receive protection that comes from making good choices – just like a mother hen does with her chicks. She loves them, protects them, and sacrifices for her babies. Jesus sacrificed too and gave his life for His children – us. We can always feel safe and protected when we are close to Jesus and under His holy wings.
Let’s pray. Jesus, who would have thought that You would compare Your love for us to that of a mother chicken, but it explains it so well. You love and protect us just like many mother animals protect their babies because we are all Your babies – Your children that You sacrificed Your very life to save. Thank You for loving us that much and being with us always. In Your name we pray, Amen.
Ann Moody is pastor of Wilkesville First Presbyterian Church and the Middleport First Presbyterian Church.